20-Seiki Shonen

This is a good example of 1) how bad mainstream Japanese movies tend to be and 2) how not to do an adaptation. The manga series, despite a few weak spots, boasted an intriguing story spanning multiple decades; the movie futily attempts to include every character and event while failing to genuinely succeed at any of them. Director Yukihiko Tsutsumi resorts to goofy camera gimmicks in even basic dialog scenes without managing the get the basics right, and the sizable budget is spent on over-extended, rarely convincing special effects, while the film as a whole is shot with simple lighting and amateur-looking film stock the caliber of a mid-budget TV production. It’s also the only movie I’ve seen that without a doubt would be better without the soundtrack altogether. The music is with few exceptions either distracting or hokey or both, and silly sound effects are used to draw attention to major plot points where no audio assistance should be necessary.

The only thing the movie has going for it is that most of the cast bear uncanny resemblances to their comic book counterparts.  But while some manage to act their parts accordingly, the two main supporting actors fall disappointingly short, and the lead character Kenji is played atrociously.

Despite great source material and a promising trailer, the movie itself is a failure in almost every way.